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Behavioural Therapy


Behavioural therapy is based on the notion that a person has a range of potential responses that he or she will display in reaction to certain stimuli or events. The kind of response emitted will be dependant on its reinforcement in the past, usually in the form of praise or attention. (Operant conditioning). Behavioural therapy involves the use of behaviour modification to alter negative, maladaptive behaviour.

History

Psychologist B. F. Skinner is one of the main pioneers of modern Behavioural therapy. He researched the act of influencing behaviour through positive and negative reinforcement and conceived Operant conditioning. Skinner would reject the harsher elements of behaviourism such as punishment, and instead develop techniques such as his goal-orientated steps model, still used in various forms today.

Approach

Behaviour therapy is influenced by Behaviourism. This approach is based on the idea that psychology should focus on human behaviour instead of the individual's mental state. It takes a more scientific approach than other forms of therapy, with emphasis placed on altering what people do..

How can it help?

Behaviour therapy in a watered-down state, has been used to treat people suffering from eating disorders such as Bulimia. It has also been utilised in conjunction with other techniques, by professional sports athletes in order to modify defective behavioural patterns during competition.




Behaviour Therapy resources

Association for Behavioural Sciences

British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies

 
Therapy Guide

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